Doug Ford requests LCBO bring back paper bags

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has written to the president and CEO of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) requesting that paper bags be re-introduced at all locations.

The LCBO phased out paper bags in September 2023, encouraging customers to bring a reusable bag or purchase one. The policy was implemented to minimize the LCBO’s environmental impact and “create a more sustainable Ontario.”

On Sunday, Ford directed the letter to George Soleas, asking that the alcohol retailer take immediate steps and reverse course.

“At a time when many Ontario families are already struggling to make ends meet, every additional expense counts,” Ford wrote in the letter. “That includes charging customers for reusable bags instead of the free paper bags that the LCBO previously offered. This change has left people stuck openly carrying alcohol in public when leaving an LCBO store.”

LCBO reusable bags currently cost $1.25 for a bag that can hold two bottles or $2.95 for one that can hold six bottles.

The LCBO said the abolition of paper bags would remove nearly 135 million annually, save the equivalent of 188,000 trees each year, and divert more than 2,600 tonnes of waste from landfills.

Ford wrote that the environmental impacts of reusable bags “are questionable at best.”

“Paper bags are an easily recyclable alternative to single-use plastic, which is why the LCBO adopted them in the first place,” the Premier continued.

“As a government, we are focused on making life easier, more convenient, and more affordable for the people of Ontario. The decision to remove paper bags has had the opposite effect.

“I’m requesting that you reverse your decision and work with our government to make shopping at the LCBO as convenient an experience as possible for customers while keeping costs down for the people of Ontario,” Ford wrote.

The LCBO permanently did away with plastic bags 15 years ago.

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